Creative Distraction

Hi all!

I know I haven’t been posting much lately compared to the past couple of months. I’ve had some things going on in my personal life over the past few weeks that have kept me offline.

One thing that I do to recharge during a particularly difficult, stressful, or even just busy time is take a step back and allow myself a creative distraction. Oftentimes I’ll lose myself in a book, for instance, or head outdoors to photograph nature. Lately I’ve been trying to teach myself Lightroom and better my Photoshop skills, so this week I decided to try a couple of self-portraits for practice editing.

Here’s a few of the shots! I still have so much to learn, but this was my first time playing around with Lr presets so I’m happy to be practicing. This was a much-needed few moments outside focusing on nothing but my camera.

 

 

International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day! Today is a day to celebrate all that women have achieved as well as push for continued gender equality.

A global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. – Source

Today I’m going to take an extra moment to be thankful for all of the women who are or have been a part of my life. To my teachers, coaches, friends, family, coworkers – you have all helped shape me in some way; thank you for any and everything you’ve done for me. To my friends and my sorority sisters – I’m so proud of all that you are doing and achieving; it’s awesome to see where we’ve all gone after college and to see the KD house carrying on our sisterhood and inclusiveness. To any woman reading this – I’m so grateful that you’re taking time out of your day to read what I have to say. (Men reading this – I appreciate you too!) 

Here are some other women I admire…

  • Susan Cain – for speaking on behalf of quiet voices everywhere
  • Joanna Coles – for pushing the boundaries of women’s content and bringing taboo topics to light
  • Emma Watson – for advocating on behalf of women’s rights and using her fame to shed awareness on important issues
  • My Mother – for raising four children, managing a household, and in many ways living as an example of the kind of person I’d like to become
  • My Best Friend – for her resilience, ever-positive attitude, friendship and loyalty over the years

Despite how far we have come in the push for gender equality, there is still change to be seen. I am hopeful for a future with less objectification of women, both in the media and in real life. I am hopeful for a future where women can be less fearful of attack, of sexual assault, of rape. I am hopeful for a future where a woman can always make her own choices regarding her health and body.

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To help raise awareness and spread the message, you can share your own thoughts or stories using the hashtags #BeBoldForChange and #InternationalWomensDay. You can also pledge to take action on the International Women’s Day website.

Getting Happy

I’m reading a book right now centered around introversion (surprise surprise; book review to come later) and the chapter I just wrapped up really got me thinking. It brought up some interesting points about happiness, particularly happiness in Western culture. The main point of the chapter is the paradox of “getting happy”: basically, we (Westerners) are so focused on being happy and getting happy, that it ultimately takes away from our happiness.

The chapter explores the pressure many feel to be happy; We feel that we should be happy all the time. Particularly as introverts, we may feel that certain things that make others (usually extroverts) happy, should make us happy as well. For example, if everyone else is having fun at a crowded, noisy, sweaty club – but we’re miserable – we feel like we’re wrong and should be having fun too.

Too often we feel bad about the times when we’re NOT happy, when in reality (and in other cultures), an unhappy state is totally acceptable. Going through periods of unhappiness, no matter how long or brief, is a totally normal part of life. In some cultures, it’s even seen as a sign of strength.

One of the ways that the author suggests combating this “getting happy” problem is the practice of mindfulness. This is a hot topic right now, so you have probably seen or heard of it. For example, mindfulness coloring books are super popular right now. Mindfulness in a nutshell is allowing yourself to be aware of and accept your thoughts and feelings of the present moment without passing judgement. Relating back to the chapter I read – those thoughts and feeling may not always be pleasant. It’s important to accept the less-than-happy feelings too.

One mindfulness exercise that I’ve somewhat tried to pick up on is meditation.  I’ve read countless articles citing how beneficial meditation can be for your health and mood. It’s particularly helpful for those who suffer from anxiety or depression, so try meditating next time you’re feeling anxious. I have a meditation app on my phone, Buddhify, that I use when I’m going to sleep. I really like it because I have a hard time meditating on my own- I need something to focus on, and the app walks me through it. The app has a slew of guided meditations for different situations (can’t sleep, traveling, stressed, etc.). It’s no surprise that one of the categories is “Difficult Emotions”. While I haven’t tried any of these guided meditations yet, I’ll definitely use one next time I’m struggling with getting happy.

Poppy Graduates Puppy School

Last week Poppy had her last day of Beginner training school at PetSmart. All of the dogs in the class had to take a final test on the last day, and….

she passed!!

She did really well throughout the course and picked up on most of the commands, but I was nervous for her final test because she had a rough day. That morning Poppy went into heat for the first time, so the poor girl had to wear a diaper to class. I did buy the “fashion” pack of cute little patterned ones, but a diaper is a diaper and no girl wants to show up to class wearing one.

For the very last part of the test, I had to walk to the opposite end of the store while the trainer kept Poppy on a long leash near him. Then I had to yell Poppy’s name and use the “come” command and she had to find her way across the entire store to me. It took her a minute or two but she made it!

Here is Poppy waiting nervously for class to start:

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And here we are after she passed! If you look closely you can see that she is wearing a little graduation cap, which was adorable.

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Things Poppy learned:

  • Sit
  • Watch Me
  • Stay
  • Walking nicely on a leash
  • Leave It
  • Come
  • Down (she didn’t quite pick up on this one)

Things I learned:

  • How to use my strong commanding voice
  • How to put on a doggy diaper
  • Patience (I didn’t quite pick up on this one)

I enjoyed the class (and the results) so much that I signed her up for Intermediate session starting this week. She will receive a letter grade at the completion of this class, so I’ll keep you posted on her final report card in six weeks!

Goldendoodle Pups

No one likes a Monday morning – or I don’t, anyways. So this Monday morning I’m sharing a post that will hopefully make yours a little brighter!

This weekend I was invited to tag along with my brother and his fiancé to help pick out the new Goldendoodle puppy that they will be bringing home next month! There were eleven puppies in the litter and they had third pick out of the boys.

The puppies were so tiny and SO soft. It was hard to leave them there after spending time holding them and watching them play! We were able to meet the parents – a Golden Retriever, Duke, and a standard Poodle, Georgia. Both were incredibly friendly so I can see why the Goldendoodle breed is known for having a good-natured personality.

If I didn’t already have Little Pop I would need to take one of those sweet pups home for myself. Thankfully I’ll get to spend time with Shawn & Sarah’s new puppy – Tucker – when he comes home in a few weeks!

 

Which Personality Type is Your Love Match?

If you are of the millennial generation, you’ve probably wasted a number of hours taking pointless Buzzfeed or other online quizzes. Are these quizzes really going to predict your life? Probably not. But they’re fun, mindless, and great for procrastinating. So here’s another one for you combining two of my favorite things – love, and personality type! ❤

This quiz is free and takes under five minutes. Bonus: it was created by Truity, which is actually a pretty reputable data source in the personality science realm.

My results:

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This is quite funny because my boyfriend is an INFP (yes, I’ve made him take the test) and I have to say, the detailed results described him pretty well. Maybe you’ll find your personality soulmate too.

Take the quiz here!

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(Sorry John.)

Meet Poppy!

Say hello to my 8-pound sidekick, Poppyseed (aka “Poppy” or “Little Pop”). We think Poppy is a Chihuahua/Shih Tzu mix, but we’re not 100% sure since she was a rescue puppy.

I adopted Poppy from Good Karma Puppy Rescue at the end of October. The first day I brought her home, she weighed in at 1 lb 5 oz, and was so small she had to wear a ferret harness!

She’s about six months old now and has grown so much! Now she has one ear that isn’t quite sure where to go, and an oddly cute Shih Tzu underbite.

Things Poppy Likes:

  • Her favorite whale squeaky toy
  • Sniffing around outside
  • Eating leaves
  • Licking peoples’ faces incessantly
  • Hiding under my bed
  • Belly rubs

My mom brought home Poppy’s brother, Clayton, on the same day. The two are inseparable, so it wouldn’t be right to leave him out of the photos. These two crazy pups are in training school at PetSmart right now – so I’ll keep you posted on whether they pass their final exam in a couple of weeks!